STUDENTS from six primary schools took to Barry Grace Oval under sunny skies on Friday for the historic and much-anticipated Baldry Shield Small Schools Sports Carnival.
The annual event has been a regional mainstay since 1940 when it was instituted by late Wallendbeen residents Aldred and Annie Baldry in memory of their eldest son Kenneth, who was the first World War II casualty from this district.
Their grandson James Baldry says the shield was donated as a fitting tribute to Kenneth, and the carnival designed to give an opportunity to village schools who often miss out on other competitions.
Aldred and Annie’s children and grandchildren are among those who help to run the Baldry Shield today, and their great-grandchildren among the competitors.
Their granddaughter Annie Jacobs presented the shield to the champion boy and girl at the end of the day and spoke about the history of the competition.
“Today’s event is a testament to the strength and relevance of small school education,” Annie said.
“I am humbled and reminded that days like this promote among our students a sense of belonging, of pride in their school, their community and themselves.”
Eight schools usually take part in the competition now and up to 14 competed in the past, including some that no longer exist, such as Bethungra Public School.
Students, teachers and parents from Beckom, Eurongilly, Illabo, Stockinbingal, Wallendbeen and Wombat were all present on the day, with Barmedman and Binalong unable to make it this year.
Teachers and students from Cootamundra High School were also present to assist with running the event.
The day began with the marching competition, which was judged by Cootamundra Shire Council mayor Jim Slattery.
Jim awarded the marching trophy to Wallendbeen Public School.
Students then competed in ball games and a variety of open and age-grouped track and field endeavours, including medium-distance runs, sprints, high jump, long jump, shot put and relays.
Competitors earn points for first, second and third place, and at the end of the day the Baldry Shield is awarded to the champion school.
Wallendbeen Public School P and C run the canteen throughout the day, volunteers bringing in baked goods and manning the barbecue.